Attana's Story told by CEO and co-founder Dr. Teodor Aastrup
When we founded Attana in 2002, we had a dream of creating a tool that could mimic reality. We were set to do this by developing an instrument capable of measuring biological interactions exactly as the actual events in the human body. I would often imagine myself standing on a cell surface watching a molecule approach the cell and diffuse before restructuring as it bound to a surface receptor or was transported through the cell membrane.
Attana is a Swedish verb, “att ana”, meaning to sense or to have a hunch, and we had a hunch that we were on to something. Convinced that our dream could become true, we developed our first instrument, the Attana 80. In the early days I would strap the instrument to my bicycle and ride over to the nearby university laboratories to give demonstrations. The scientists could barely believe their eyes as I lifted our instrument off the bike and on to their lab benches! Most of them were immediately intrigued by our technology and its potential, and so the Attana journey began.
With our dream still fresh in our mind, our mission today is to provide the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and academic societies with biologically relevant information when characterizing molecular interactions. But biological relevance is the key, and a complex one, so what do we mean by it?
Traditionally, label-free biosensors are run with purified molecules diluted in pure buffers or with very dilute serums, at room temperature, on a synthetic surface using synthetic drug candidates. The success of biosensors within this area has been and still is great. However, during the past few years there has been a rapidly increasing interest in biopharmaceuticals, due to their significantly higher attrition rates, something we believe can be correlated to improved biological relevance.
At Attana, we develop tools that generate biologically relevant information to select the right candidates as you work with biopharmaceuticals in a broad sense. Our instruments are designed to run crude samples because that is what we have in the human body, to characterize interactions between naturally occurring species such as antibodies, peptides, carbohydrates, bacteria, viruses and cells. We believe that characterization at human body temperature better mimics reality than characterization at room temperature, and that relevant pH, salinity and other pertinent conditions also help provide data that enhances candidate selection. So, the options to run a wide variety of species such as cells, used directly on the sensor surface, and crude samples in combination with body specific conditions are what enable us to provide more biologically relevant information compared to the traditional biosensor approach, thus bridging the gap to cell based assays.
At Attana we continuously strive to improve and develop our products together with our customers, friends and co-workers with our vision constantly in our mind. As I frequently participate at conferences I sincerely look forward to meeting you, so that we can learn from each other and discuss ideas for the future.
CEO and co-founder
- Medical research
- teodor aastrup